Geddy Lee Reflects on the Last Time He Saw Neil Peart

"He thought it was very important for me to know that, that our life as a rhythm section together was important to him"

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Nov 15, 2023

Geddy Lee began his North American book tour behind newly released memoir My Effin' Life yesterday (November 14), and the Rush bassist took time during the first date of the trek to reminisce about late friend and bandmate Neil Peart.

During the Q&A portion of the evening at New York's Beacon Theatre — at which he was joined by host, actor and noted Rush fanatic Paul Rudd — Lee recalled moments shared with Peart during the final months of his life. The accomplished drummer and lyricist passed away in January 2020 at age 67 following a battle with brain cancer.

"[During the final months of his life, Neil] would listen to a different Rush album and he would be analyzing it and listening to something he hadn't heard sometimes since we'd made it," Lee shared with the New York audience [via Blabbermouth]. And by the time that he sadly passed, he had listened to pretty much all the work we had done as a band. And the last time I saw him... he wanted to tell me how proud he was of the music we have done together… Some of this stuff is hard to talk about."

Lee continued, expressing how "it just blew me away that, in that moment, we were sitting on his balcony at his house. And whenever we left him towards the end, we never knew if we'd see him again or not. And so we were sitting on his balcony, and he was having a smoke, because he loved to have a smoke, like clockwork. And we were talking about what a great moment it was that he was here in this place, and we had just seen some parakeets flying into the trees, and we both were bird nerds, so we could talk about that. But he went on to talk about these songs and what they meant to him, and he thought it was very important for me to know that, that our life as a rhythm section together was important to him. So I thought that was beautiful."

You can watch Lee share his memory of the moment in the player below. Of Peart, Lee had previously shared that he had never met a musician like him, telling Rolling Stone how "one of the great joys of my life was playing in a rhythm section that consisted of only two people with that fellow." 

Lee's evening at the Beacon Theatre also saw him read passages from My Effin' Life, expanding on the stories told before opening up the floor to the audience. His book tour behind My Effin' Life continues through November and December, with Canadian stops set for Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto. The memoir saw release yesterday (November 14) via HarperCollins.

Outside of his new book, Lee recently lent his low end expertise to a new bass guitar docuseries, auctioned off more of his baseball memorabilia and shared that he's still open to performing as Rush again with longtime friend and guitarist Alex Lifeson.

Latest Coverage